Springtime in the south Florida wetlands mean lots of activity in the natural rookeries. Of course some bird unions happen earlier than others, so while some of the this year’s young is older than others … and some are still waiting for their new arrivals.But before long, even this green heron couple sees the fruits of their efforts in courtship, nest building, mating, incubating and protecting … as finally their babies hatch successfully and emerge for all of us to see.OK, so most birds are quite ugly (by normal standards) when they’re first emerged and yes, they go through that awkward stage as they grow up. However, these little ones are so absolutely adorable (at least to me).All of those downy feathers, peach fuzz, and those faces … LOLBefore long however, they will become competitive for their parents attention and more importantly their food. Such cuteness though. This parent-to-be black-necked stilt sits down on 4 eggs which are just waiting their own special introduction to the world.It must not be far away either … judging with how many times the parents got up and turned those speckled eggs frantically. Such amazing parents, the black-necked stilts take turns tending to the nest, which is out in the open and made up of twigs, sticks, and small branches on the ground.They are such protective parents when before and after their young are born … always patrolling the shoreline for potential threats like alligators.Alas, the four little ones are introduced to the world, or more specifically the wetlands. From birth, the little ones are expected to forage for themselves, so off they go.For protection, and I would expect for companionship, they tend to congregate together.When threats enter the area, they get a quick escort out of harms way. I find it so funny how such a small, dainty-like bird can command so much respect to make a great blue heron fly away.After a few days, they begin to venture further away in their search for food. They also have almost doubled their size. Their cuteness factor doubled too. 🙂When they are ready for a rest, they run over to their mom and insert themselves into her underbelly feathers. It’s funny to look at because all that you can see is their little legs hanging down.Looks like this “teenager” tri-colored heron just noticed its parent flying in nearby. That usually means food.I give all of the credit in the world to these poor parents when it comes to feeding their offspring. They run over and literally grab the parents beak … and neck … and face … in their attempt to get food NOW! It’s not just the tri-colored herons, it’s almost all of the birds too, as evidenced by this great egret. If I was a bird parent and my “children” treated me like that, I’m not sure I could keep going back! LOLOf course when they return without food, the young ones just become loud and very alert … like these young cattle egret.Then there’s the sweet ducklings and this parent looks to have more than she can handle. They’re generally community nesters, so perhaps she’s taking others out for a swim as well. Such is the life in the wetlands during breeding season. Another year, another brood. Lots of memories and of course … lots of babies.
Next Up: Back in Colorado
© 2017 Debbie Tubridy / TNWA Photography